So where was I? Oh yeah, sitting in the hospital watching my MIL slip away a little more each day. We were there for a month.
Things seesawed from ok to poor daily. Luck made her heart valves synchronize, she finally got sinus rhythm. Then they could medicate her into a more normal heart rate. Not too fast, not too slow. She still had a bloodstream infection and four more weeks of IV antibiotics before she could be “cleared”.
One memorable morning, the cardiologist told me, prolly to stop my pestering, that he would transfer her to a nursing home for the rest of the antibiotic therapy.
I screeched “NURSING HOME?!?!” loud enough to make everyone at the nurses station stop what they were doing and dogs several states away started barking. The argument ended with me insisting I could care for her at home, that she’d be better off with me, sooner rather than later.
“She’s slipping away a little more each day,” I pleaded.
“It’s quite common for heart surgery patients with complication to be depressed. I can prescribe something.”
The cardiologist quailed in a very unmanly way as I got RIGHT IN HIS FACE.
“I’ll Google you, find out where you live and make you as miserable at home as I make you here if you don’t release her to me. There will be NO nursing home.”
I was beyond furious. Sitting around worrying made me snap.
The cardiologist and infectious diseases doctors made me stand 10 feet away while they had a hurried conversation in the hall outside MIL’s room. They threatened to call hospital security, which I pointed out only protected them on hospital grounds. It was unpleasant.
She doesn’t remember me getting her dressed and into the car to come home. I was amazed that she made it up all 11 steps to her bedroom.
The next six weeks went like this: bring her breakfast, help her shower, help her get back to bed because she was exhausted, make her take her meds, make her drink her water, make her do her physical therapy.
I was Nurse Ratchet. We had twice-weekly blood drawls, endless follow up doctor appointments, physical therapy. We did the IV meds every afternoon, sometime with Oprah, other times with Jane Austin.
The first time she went with me to the grocery store was reason for celebration. I took her to Home Depo and we picked out plants and dirt. She pointed her cane and I gardened, gardened, gardened because that’s what she likes to do.
“You do your physical therapy on the deck while you make me dig holes” I’d tell her. It will make you stronger. It took a long time for her to get stronger.
But she did. I took her home last Saturday. She’ll have physical therapy for a long time, and when she finished that – cardiac therapy. She’s whole, body and mind, able to live on her own and ready to enjoy her life again.
She promised me that she’d come back in September to supervise painting the family room, now that we have agreed on colors. It only took three trips for paint samples to achieve détente.
One particular thing occurred to me more than once during this whole experience. I’m passing on my New and Important Knowledge. Here it is:
GET OFF YOUR ASS. GO WORK OUT. LAUGH. EAT RIGHT. WORK OUT SOME MORE.
If you don’t make the time to get exercise and eat right, you are going to spend a loooong time being sick as you age. My MIL has NEVER done “the exercise thing.” So now she has to rehab. Made me think….
Meanwhile back at the ranch…
I woke up Monday morning and realized that Mr. Wonderful was on a business trip and my son was at school. Whatever shall I do with all my free worry less time?
Gym, gym, gym, lunch with friends, art exhibits, gym, maybe some gardening. My son is on the jv baseball team, so I go and cheer.
I’m gonna dance every day and laugh all the time. It’s good for the heart.